Mighty Sports Membership Myths #3: Students are hard to convert

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In the last of our series on sports membership myths, we look at that perennial problem area: student memberships.

“We’ve tried, but students have no money or just don’t care.”

This is a common complaint. But while students are busy studying, maybe we should be working a little harder studying their membership needs.

There have been attempts to try free memberships for international students to introduce them to a team or sport. But, of course, there are issues with them eventually going home, and free tickets rob an event of its value (it’s so much easier to leave if you got your tickets free).

But I don’t think we have really tapped the potential of domestic university students. Yes, money is tight for them, but analytics show cost is only one factor keeping them from converting.

We need to market to students in ways that appeal to them. For many university students, their whole life, apart from study, is about socialising. They want to make friends and have fun. If we don’t offer that in our memberships, is it any surprise they don’t convert?

Sitting in a crowd is a buzz and interactions happen everywhere, but for the most part the experience is about who attends the game with you. There is potential for teams to designate general admission membership seating blocks to university members. Then students will know that if they, for example, buy a University of Western Sydney Parramatta Eels’ membership, they will be sitting with other UWS students. The same people in their classes and library.

This would remove a significant barrier. Students want to make friends at university. If they can organise ticket purchases with friends and can all sit together it fulfills that urge. And if sports membership doesn’t offer it, they will just go off and socialise elsewhere.

What have your organisations experiences marketing to students been like? Can you say you are successful in this area?

Please add your comments below and lets start a discussion on this topic.


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